Sandoval admission leads to World War II vet’s exhumation from Greeley cemetery
March 31, 2017
When Weld District Attorney Michael Rourke contacted Richard Hert, of Casper, Wyo., to tell him the police needed to exhume his father's grave, he was shocked.
"You couldn't think of anything like that ever happening," he said Friday in a telephone interview.
Earlier this month, John Sandoval admitted to knowing the location of the body of his estranged wife, Tina Tournai Sandoval. The key suspect in her murder on Oct. 19, 1995, Sandoval kept silent for almost 22 years. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Friday and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
In the early morning hours of Oct. 20, 1995, Sandoval found an open gravesite in Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery, 3400 28th St. He had previously worked at the cemetery in 1993. According to a news release from the District Attorney's Office, he dug about two feet below the open grave and buried Tina's body.
The grave belonged to Arthur Hert, who died Oct. 16, 1995. His burial took place Oct. 20, sealing Tina's body under the vault. A World War II veteran, Hert served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in Wichita Falls, Texas. He joined the Pipefitter's Union in the late 1940s, and worked with the union until his retirement in the mid-1970s.
When Richard Hert, 69, found out they needed to exhume his father's grave to help with the investigation, he gave the OK.
"To give the family closure, there was no hesitation on giving the police department the go-ahead," he said.
During his retirement, Arthur Hert played pool in a retirement community. The last year and a half of his life, Arthur lived with Richard and his wife Deborah in Greeley.
"My father was a very caring man," Richard Hert said.
Arthur Hert received a second burial after his grave was exhumed.
The Evans Veterans of Foreign Wars post appeared to show Arthur their respects.